Clad in pajamas with Starbucks coffee in their hands, scores of GW students walked through campus on Friday with a challenge they had never faced before: Friday classes.
In response to a larger-than-usual freshman class and the partial closing of Funger Hall, one of GW’s largest sources of class space, University officials packed Fridays with class sections.
The change, which will add much-needed class space, has forced many students to meet with their professors and classmates on a day usually enjoyed for its lighter course loads.
“They don’t have a choice, they need more classrooms,” said junior Justin Sims, who added that he arrived at the first of his three classes feeling “drunk.”
Sims said that while he would rather have a three-day weekend, he would do his best to adjust to waking up early for Friday courses.
Some freshmen finishing up their first week of classes expressed surprise at having to wake up on Friday for school.
“I thought college was different,” said freshman Gina Sevok, who has three Friday classes.
Besides being a nuisance for some students for whom studying may replace partying as a Thursday night activity, Friday classes also pose an inconvenience to those who use the day to work or intern.
“I used to work Fridays,” senior Emily Sheffield said. “But today I worked the morning shift.”
Sheffield, who was unable to work a full day Friday because of a class at 2:20 p.m., said she would rather take her courses on Fridays than on Saturdays or Sundays.
She added, “Fridays are kind of hard to break into.”
While some students reported difficulties in getting acclimated to a Friday academic environment, GW officials said the change in class scheduling was necessary for the University.
“We had many, many discussions with faculty, staff, the student senate, and with other universities,” said Craig Linebaugh, associate vice president for academic planning and development. “This is what would work best for GW.”
Linebaugh said that the addition of Friday classes came because of construction in Funger, which should last until 2006, and an array of new courses added by the University. The classes are also necessary to accommodate the largest freshman class to ever attend GW.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, a publication that reports on issues and trends at colleges, many universities are moving more classes to Friday to cut down on partying. Linebaugh, however, said that GW’s move to Fridays “was not done with the intent of affecting student behavior on Thursday night.”
He added that students not wishing to give up a potential three-day weekend could look into taking night classes on other days.
But while coming as an inconvenience to some, several students and professors said the use of Fridays does not bother them.
Professor Katherine Larsen, an assistant lecturer in English, said she had no problem spending the day before her weekend teaching four classes.
“I don’t mind (the schedule) that much,” she said. “It doesn’t really bother me.”